Filed Under (General) by Rob on 17-02-2007

Our friend and Eddie Arthur used to say:

“When you first get malaria, you worry that you’re going to die.
After a few days of malaria, you worry that you won’t!”

I certainly got to the first stage but not quite the second! Thanks, Eddie (even if we differ on our Blutak opinions!)
If you don’t know much about malaria, read on to find out first hand. Otherwise, try this test (previously posted a few months ago) and see how you go.


My bout of malaria this week was the worst so far in Benin (but not as bad as in Côte d’Ivoire in ’94). The main reason was that my head injury masked the malaria symptoms for a day or two and the trick with malaria is always to diagnose it quickly…


Tuesday 9:30am: Just finished the dress rehearsal of “Rats” at school, but feel totally exhausted. Go straight to clinic for blood test. So sure it’s “The big M’ that I take a treatment with me to take as soon as the test is done!

Sure enough, it’s positive, with a count of 250 (I’ve previously had 200, but this feels way worse). I spend the rest of the day lying on the sofa or bed, doing very little! At bed time, my temperature is 39.9 degrees C and, although I’m baking hot, I’m shiverring uncontrollably. I take a cold shower, cold baths, paracetamol etc. and by about 1:00am, my temp is down to under 38. I sleep reasonably and get up early to take my second dose of Artesunate with Fansidar and get a few more hours’ sleep. The combination of these two drugs is one of the most effective treatments.



Feeling better. Have a good lie-in, then time for another rehearsal, which I get through okay (the Artesunate works fast and you feel better quickly. However, you still need to remember to rest lots!) Show in the evening, and I’m shattered by the end! Temp up to 38.5C, but no higher (that’s progress!)



Feel better am, but then exhausted after a trip into town (who wouldn’t be??? Have you seen the traffic here?!?) Headaches continue, temperature still a bit up.



Temperature back to normal, but persistant headache all day. Ouch! I hope it goes away soon.



After a decent night’s sleep and a couple more Ibuprofen, I wake up without a headache and even feel up to writing a blog post! Thanks for reading!

1 Comment posted on "What’s it like having malaria?"
Reggie on February 17th, 2007 at 8:33 pm #

Sorry to hear you’ve been poorly twice! Especially when you have parents-in-law visiting and lots happening at school. I hope everything has cleared up fully so you can have a great family Sunday lunch.

Cheers, Reggie